Dogs Excelled in Frontline Combat during Vietnam War

“Dogs exhibit heroism under fire in extreme combat,” says Jim Dugan (USAF ret) of Rapid City who will talk about his Vietnam War experiences as a dog handler, while headquartered at Tan Son Nhut Air Base.

Sponsored by the Black Hills Veterans Writing Group, the free family event on Saturday, February 11 will take place at Ellsworth Air Force Base’s South Dakota Air and Space Museum, starting at 9 am.

It is estimated that combat dogs, like Nemo of Tan Son Nhut, saved the lives of 10,000 US military. Walking point, dogs can see, hear, smell, and understand far beyond human capability. The sense of smell is about a 1000 times greater, thus able to detect ambushes and trip wires well in advance.

Dugan will look back at the role of dogs starting with the Greeks, through the story of German Shepherd Rin Tin Tin in World War I, then summarizing how the Rapid City Police Department uses dogs today. Dugan was later assigned to the nuclear weapons and missile operations at the Nevada Test site.

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Woodrow Wilcox


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